Is There A Secret To Sustained Motivation?

As we get closer to the end of the year, predictably I want to spend some time getting us all thinking about what our ideal 2016 would look like. 

It’s no secret that I believe whole-heartedly in the power of intention. Which really just boils down to the idea of not living a passive life. Instead, I believe in living an active life, one where you craft your experiences and moments and lifestyle by taking deliberate actions that support your values. One of the biggest mental shifts I’ve made in the past few years is the realization that Life doesn’t just happen to me; I have the power to get out there and happen to Life.

That’s what intentional living is to me, and that’s why I want to chat about starting to set those 2016 intentions now. 

BUT, taking action is hard, isn’t it?

As I mentioned a few weeks back, the two biggest struggles that I hear over and over again from you guys in the community are confidence and motivation. We tackled confidence a few weeks back but now I want to talk a bit about motivation as we inch toward a new year and a blank slate. 

Unfortunately, motivation can be a tricky beast because, like confidence, it’s an intrinsic feeling. Sure, you can get short boosts in motivation from outside sources — coaches, friends, books, etc. — but ultimately sustainable motivation has to come from within. 

Knowing this, I want to share with you one mindset that has helped me find sustainable motivation for several of the intentions I set forth for myself this year. 

And, as an example, let’s talk about this newsletter. 

Once I hit Send, this will be my 96th newsletter in two years. I’ve written every week of the year with the exception of the holidays, and I maintain that it is the single most important engine of growth for Made Vibrant. 

And over the course of the past month or so I’ve had several people asking me about this newsletter. 

How do you find the time to write that much content every week? 

How do you come up with ideas about what to write about? 

How do you grow your list and keep people engaged? 

All great questions with one pretty simple answer: 

This newsletter is my non-negotiable. 

Knowing just how important consistency and authenticity are to the success of a business, I made a decision when I started Made Vibrant that I would have one single tactic that I kept consistent no matter what

Why did I decide that? Because I know that will power is the sneaky saboteur of motivation. 

Will power is what ruins our well-laid plans for eating healthier, for exercising more, for making time to create, for doing anything we set out to do. Will power is what we have to engage in order to say “NO, Brain, I’m going to do THIS thing, not that other thing that’s more delicious or more fun or a heckofalot easier.”

Will power is the muscle that we use to make good choices. And for most of us, that muscle is out. of. shape. 

I knew that if I left things up to my will power — if I told myself I wanted to write weekly but that I’d “see how I feel” every Monday morning — that I would easily negotiate my way out of it and come up with a reason not to hit send. 

Instead, though, by telling myself up front that there is NO way out of this agreement I have with myself, that there is no other choice to be made, somehow it allowed me to psychologically outsmart my will power muscle. It’s like my brain said, “Take a seat, Will Power, we’re not going to need you on this one. There’s no decision to be made here.” 

That simple perspective shift allows me to sit down Monday after Monday and write NO MATTER WHAT because my will power isn’t even allowed to have a seat at the table during the conversation. 

Establishing a non-negotiable ensures that your wobbly will power won’t derail your intentional progress.

Does that make sense? 

In two years I’ve grown this list from 2 people to 3,300 people and that is only because I’m able to put out consistent, relatable, valuable content. 

Which brings me back to you. 

YOU are at the brink of a bright and shiny new year with wonderful, infinite possibilities. Just think, for you maybe 2016 is: 

The Year Of Financial Freedom

The Year Of Business Growth

The Year Of Creative Exploration

The Year Of Self-Discovery

The Year Of Adventure

The Year Of Healthful Living

The Year Of Emotional Healing

The list goes on…

But right now, today, I want you to do this one thing for me. I want you to choose ONE non-negotiable for 2016.

Decide on one thing that you want to do on a regular basis that could change things in a big way if you stick with it. And then, every day until 2016 begins, I want you to say to yourself, “Sorry Will Power, there is no decision to be made here.” 

(If you want, feel free to tweet at me and let me know what your non-negotiable is!)

The truth is, there is no secret to sustained motivation. There is nothing I can say that will make the road easier for you.

YOU have to decide that what’s on the other side of consistency and discipline and sacrifice is well worth the discomfort of what it takes to get there. 

And as someone who has experienced the immeasurably satisfying benefits of building a community of generous, supportive, soulful creatives (that's YOU!), I can tell you that it is well worth the moments of discomfort I had to push through on those weeks when I didn’t know what to write or I was busy as all get out or I was sick or I was tired. 

These letters are my non-negotiable and I’m immensely grateful for that. 

Thank you so much for reading week after week and for sending these letters along to your friends so they can join us. My life is more rich and delightful because I get to connect with all of you. 

Wishing you all a happy week as we prepare for a new year of possibilities!